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October 1, 2002

Kevin Appier


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kevin Appier, please.

Q. You are the only player on the team with playoff experience. Have the guys been asking you about that or have you volunteered some of it, what it's like? What's that situation been like in the clubhouse?

KEVIN APPIER: Absolutely. We've been, you know, talking, say, last month or so. Younger kids, just asking various questions. You know, even though I'm the only guy on the playoff roster with experience, they still got Aaron and Cook and just like in our meeting yesterday, our pitchers meeting and stuff like that, we were talking about the whole thing. Yeah, they've been good about picking our brains. You know, just asking variation of questions.

Q. When you were traded before the season, could you have ever imagined you were actually being traded from a non-contender to a contender? Can you talk about the irony of the way things have worked out?

KEVIN APPIER: Well, you know, I was surprised to be traded first year of a deal. I definitely didn't think the Mets were a noncontender. I thought we had a good team. I really liked playing in New York. I was bummed from that standpoint. If I was going to be traded, I felt okay going to the Angels. I knew the talent core was there. The year before they had a bad season, but it wasn't because the talent wasn't there, it was the way things were. Going over there, especially after Aaron signed, well, I felt better when Percival signed back. I felt we had definite chance to make postseason.

Q. What did you learn from pitching in the playoffs two years ago that you'll use for your start tomorrow night?

KEVIN APPIER: Probably mostly is in the preparation of it and not just scouting and stuff like that. You know, just controlling all the emotions, keeping the anxiety under control, making sure the adrenaline doesn't work against you and, you know, just stays as a positive thing. You know, I had to concentrate a lot, kind of remind myself it's just the same game that we've been playing, you know, the whole season. And that's probably one of the questions with the guys I'm talking to now. Granted, the games means more, but it is the same game. You just got to focus on what you, you know, you got to do.

Q. You said the guys have been asking some interesting questions. Can you give us some examples of those?

KEVIN APPIER: Just be on the -- just like what I talked about now. Like, he asked about, you know, what I learned from my experience. That's it. Basically, you know, I saw stuff in the paper like the jitters and stuff like that. You know, these guys are mentally strong enough to where they can keep things focused and keep themselves under control and basically that's what they're asking, is stuff like that, "How hard is it to, you know, not get the jitters?" Basically. But I told them that, you know, strange as it was, when I was out there playing, it seemed extremely normal. Told them not to stress about it.

Q. I know you're concentrating on your start tomorrow night, but do you have any particular thoughts about Bobby Valentine getting fired today?

KEVIN APPIER: I was very surprised to hear that. I don't know how many years his contract had left. Didn't it have two more years left on it?

Q. One.

KEVIN APPIER: One more year. I can't see Bobby being too responsible for what happened over there. I liked playing for him. But managers wind up getting blamed for that stuff, as we all know, or at least partially to blame. You know, wind up taking the rap. So I don't know exactly how much involved he was or how much at fault he was, but, you know... I'm surprised, being it's a two-year contract and the history he has with that team, kind of the way baseball is, I'm not surprised too.

Q. One of the Yankees' strengths has been shortening a game with their bullpen, it allows them to go on from the sixth, seventh inning on. Your relievers this year have done a great job, but they're anonymous. Do you look at it as an advantage?

KEVIN APPIER: We definitely have that possibility. I mean, obviously as a starter you hope to, you know, complete a game, at least get, you know, deep into it, seventh, eighth inning. But they picked us up a number of times this year. Yankees are in the same boat. I mean, even though Mo is not as proven as he was in previous years their bullpen did a great job when he was out. We're kind of in a similar situation like that, really strong bullpens. You know, like I said, as a starter you're hoping to go deep. It's nice to know those guys are back there, even the middle guys are back there if you need them. Then your closer, you don't get any better than Percy.

End of FastScripts�.

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